Odd Bits


"Ms. McLagan, focusing on 'the rest of the animal,' balances the exotic but appetizing—savory oxtail and tripe stews, dishes featuring kidney and tongue—with the downright bizarre: It's all here, from beef cheeks to cow's back and calves' brains. It is a tribute to Ms. McLagan's talent as a writer that, even when she is describing the least appealing of her 'bits her informative text, good humor and contagious enthusiasm will keep readers engaged and amused."

— Wall Street Journal

"A treat for anyone who values the treasure that lies beyond the breast and loin....the heart and soul of this book is economical and delicious eating."

— Nigel Slater

"Enormously interesting and appealing...This is as wonderful an introduction to 'odd bits' as you'll find. Mclagan is unabashed in her exploration of these meats."

— Clifford Wright

In a world of costly prime cuts—stately crown roasts, plump pork chops, and regal racks of lamb—it’s easy to forget about (and steer clear of) the more economical, but less lovable parts of the beast—bellies, brains, cheeks, combs, gizzards, hearts, hocks, kidneys, lungs, marrow, necks, shanks, spleens, tongues, trotters, and, oh yes, testicles.

Historically, these so-called odd bits have had a regular place on our plates and in our culinary repertoires. In fact, many are considered delicacies and routinely appear in regional specialties. So why do we eschew and waste valuable protein? When have our sensibilities become so squeamish? In short—when did we decide offal had become awful?

Jennifer McLagan, award-winning author of Bones and Fat, is on a crusade to bring the nose-to-tail style of cooking and eating out of the closet and back onto to our dining tables. Her mission: restoring our respect for the whole animal, developing a taste for its lesser known parts, and learning how to approach them in the kitchen as confidently as we would a steak or a burger.

Serious food lovers will delight in the sheer variety of the dishes that await, ranging from simple to challenging